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In the News - Friday, January 13, 2012





A pictorial retrospect of 2011


Generals Highway will open
on weekends, holidays

  The leadership team at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks relented on an earlier decision and now the Generals Highway will remain open between the parks on weekends and holidays as long as there is no significant snowfall. That’s good news for Three Rivers businesses that depend on the weekend tourist traffic to stay open in the off-season’s slower winter months.
   National Park Service road crew personnel will be filling in as flaggers on weekends to assist vehicles through the one-lane construction zone at the Halstead Meadow bridge (3.5 miles beyond Lodgepole). Other road construction zones are on signal lights with delays of no longer than 20 minutes during the weekends.
   In a normal January, weekend businesses are fueled by visitors who come to play in the snow. They rent tire chains, buy snow toys, fill up with gas, and buy picnic supplies.
   With the lack of snow this season, the business trade is being fueled by a different sort of traveler that might be visiting a number of parks like Yosemite, Sequoia, and Death Valley.   Those parks were on the itinerary of two youthful British tourists who were seven days into a three-month holiday to see as much of the U.S. as possible.
   Last Tuesday, they were enjoying dinner at the Pizza Factory in Three Rivers.
  “We never could have imagined hiking in the Giant Forest on a spring-like day in January,” one of the visitors said. “It was beautiful up there today.”
   From January 14 to 16, in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, national parks are fee-free. Go outside, America, and enjoy springtime in winter and save $20 a carload too!

Redistricting reexamined;
More changes coming

  The rationale for Three Rivers in a congressional district with Bakersfield and with Fresno in the state assembly districts is a little hard to grasp. But try to imagine a state senate district that stretches from Sacramento to Death Valley with Three Rivers smack dab in the middle.
   Some of these changes are contrary to information in last week’s Commonwealth (“Legislative districts and local boards: 2012 changes”) so here is another attempt to set the record straight.
   As stated in last week’s Commonwealth article, Three Rivers will change from Devin Nunes’s (R-Tulare) 21st District to Kevin McCarthy’s 22nd District (these are scheduled to be changed to Districts 22 and 23, respectively).
   McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) is up for reelection in 2012 but is expected to retain his seat. Woodlake will remain in Congressman Nunes’s district; Three Rivers does not. Those changes are effective in January 2013.
   The state legislative changes get a little more complicated.
   Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), District 18, will continue to represent Three Rivers until after the election of November 2012. Then Three Rivers is included with Elderwood within the boundaries of a new senatorial District 8. That district’s seat is currently vacant and is more equitably split between Republicans and Democrats than is the current District 18.
   In the state assembly, Three Rivers is currently represented by Connie Conway (R-Visalia) in District 34. After the November 2012 election, Three Rivers relocates to District 29, currently represented by Linda Halderman (R-Fresno). Assemblywoman Halderman is up for reelection in 2012 so whoever wins the election will be this area’s assemblyperson.
   And all of the above could still change because, as usual, some of the legislators do not agree with the new boundaries and are attempting to revise them.
  “It looks like Three Rivers is going to have to make some new friends,” said Lee Goldstein, who chairs the Town Hall meetings for the Three Rivers Village Foundation.
   To check on the boundaries of the new districts go online to: wedrawthelines.ca.gov

3R man uninjured after solo accident

  Several Three Rivers motorists assisted at the scene of a Toyota Tundra pickup that had rolled over and caused a small fire on the eastbound side of Highway 198. The accident occurred at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11, near the entrance to the Lazy J Ranch Motel.
   A witness at the scene said that the 84-year-old male driver from Three Rivers was extricated from the wreckage with the help of several motorists who assisted him from what could have been a life-threatening situation.
   Emergency personnel arrived on the scene a few minutes later and found the victim lying off the roadway approximately 25 feet away in a ditch facing west. He was examined and reported as being uninjured.
   The fire that started near the rear of the vehicle appeared to be caused by a leaking fuel tank. The CHP is currently investigating the crash and has not yet released the official cause of the solo-vehicle accident.
   The accident scene has been the site of other accidents and collisions in the past when the oncoming vehicle failed to see another motorist stopped in the eastbound lane attempting to make a left turn.

Memorial District board members sworn in

Allen Ishida (left), county supervisor and 2012 Board of Supervisors chairman, was in Three Rivers on Monday, Jan. 9, to install new Three Rivers Memorial District board members (from left to right) Maureen Basham, Marge Ewen, and Richard Fletcher. Frank Capalare of Three Rivers is the fourth director.
   Due to the resignation this week of longtime TRMD director David Sherwood, there is currently a new vacancy on the board. It is a two-year post, open to a veteran or non-veteran who resides within the district. For more information or to apply, call 561-2222.

Out growing: Woodlake gardens and growers recognized

  At the Monday, Jan. 9, Woodlake City Council meeting, Manuel Jimenez (left) received a community award for “hard work and the great things he has accomplished at the Woodlake Botainical Gardens.” Also in attendance were Manuel’s wife Olga (second from left) and Ayanna Garcia, a Woodlake seventh-grader and “outstanding volunteer” at the gardens.   Mayor Raul Gonzales Jr. (right) made the presentation on behalf of the City of Woodlake.
   The 10-acre gardens are a partnership between Woodlake Pride Inc., which provides the youth volunteers and adult mentors, and the City of Woodlake, which provides the land and the water. The gardens are open to the public, and there is a 1.2-mile path that is accessible to walkers, bike-riders, wheelchairs, and strollers.

Woodlake on the prowl
for award nominees

  Nominations are now available for the 2011 Woodlake Awards. Each year since 1961, the Woodlake community has awarded a Man of the Year and Woman of the Year title to the persons who contributed significantly to the betterment of life in Woodlake.
   Past honorees include Wilma Hengst and E.B. Loverin (1961), Grace Pogue (1963), Bill Crawford (1971), Leo Robinson (1976), Emma Welch and Johnny Jackson (1979), Louise Achenbach (1988), Frank Ainley (1991), Sally Pace (1994), Donna Whittaker and Joe Hallmeyer (1998), Frances Mann (2004), Barb Edwards (2006), and Tori Johnson (2007), to name just a few.
   Nominations are due Friday, Jan. 27. Forms may be obtained from Woodlake City Hall, Woodlake Unified Schools main office, or by emailing run ningp64@gmail.com.
   Here is the nomination criteria: The Man and Woman of the Year must reside within the Woodlake Elementary School District. The Youth of the Year (one boy and one girl) must reside within the Woodlake High School District. The Spirit of Woodlake award has no residential requirements, but the person must exemplify “the spirit of Woodlake.” The   Business of the Year must physically be within the 93286 zip code (this award will be selected by the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce).
   Other awards have been presented over the years, such as Veteran of the Year, Man and Woman of the Decade, Lifetime Achievement Award, and more at the discretion of the selection committee. If someone is worthy of any kind of recognition due to their contributions to the Woodlake community, be sure to nominate them so they are brought to the attention of the decision-makers.
   Although the winners will be informed in advance, they will all be the guests of honor at a dinner banquet scheduled for Saturday, March 3, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Woodlake Memorial Building. The public is invited to attend.
   The banquet is organized by the Kiwanis Club of Woodlake, and they also prepare the dinner. All Woodlake service organizations, as well as the school district, police department, and local pastors, have a representative on the selection committee that reviews nominees.
   For additional information, contact Sally Pace, runningp64@gmail.com or 564-2054, or Linda LaFleur at linda.lafleur@yahoo.com or 564-2485.

DFG seeks comments on pikas

  The California Department of Fish and Game is inviting public comment on a proposal to list the American pika as an endangered or threatened species.
   American pikas are adorable little rodents related to rabbits and hares that inhabit talus slopes in mountainous regions. In California, pikas typically live at 9,000 feet and above in the Sierra Nevada, the southern Cascades, and the mountain ranges of the Great Basin.
Climate change is considered to be the primary factor that is impacting the pika populations in California.
   DFG’s petition evaluation report for the American pika is online at: www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/publications/. Comments must be received by March 15.
Comments, data, and other information may be submitted in writing to: California Department of Fish and Game, Nongame Wildlife Program, Attn: Scott Osborn, 1812 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. Comments may also be emailed to pika@dfg.ca.gov.


Inita Smith
1928 ~ 2012

   Inita Faye Smith, a longtime resident of Three Rivers, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.
   A viewing will be held Friday, Jan. 13, 4 to 7 p.m., at Salser & Dillard Funeral Home, 127 E. Caldwell Ave., Visalia, and a funeral service will be held there Saturday, Jan. 14, 2 p.m. Interment at Visalia Cemetery will be Monday, Jan. 16, at noon.
   On November 24, 1928, Inita was the eldest of seven children born to James W. and Dora P. Whitfield in Broken Bow, Okla.
   First and foremost, Inita was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She took great joy in raising her children and in teaching them to love and serve the Lord. Lloyd and Inita were beautiful examples of committed love, both to each other and to their Lord Jesus Christ. Over the years, they also impacted the lives of friends, neighbors, and strangers alike.
   Inita worked at the Maricopa (Kern County) Post Office for 26 years, beginning as a part-time clerk and retiring as postmaster in 1988. She was an accomplished seamstress, avid reader, and careful stamp collector. A true adventurer and admirer of nature, Inita often took her children and grandchildren on hikes, picnics, treasure hunts, or floating down the river.  She also taught Sunday school for many years and worked faithfully in the church, influencing all ages with her enthusiasm and resolve.
   Inita was preceded in death by brothers James David and Lloyd Dale, her sister Hazel Lorraine, and her daughter Carol Ann.
   Inita is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 65 years, Lloyd Smith; her daughters, Gloria Crabtree and husband John of Three Rivers, Faye Smith of Bakersfield, and Linda Cloyd and husband Steve of Visalia; her son, Terry Smith, of Sacramento; sisters Geneva Burch and Barbara Sue Whitfield; and brother Jerry Whitfield. In addition, she leaves behind 10 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
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